A Beautiful, Soft, Striped Coat


Reincarnation is my favorite
of the death options—
it gives you something
to look forward to,

like hanging pictures
in a freshly-painted apartment
in a new city,

or a chic getup
with distressed skinny jeans
allowing you to walk boldly
among teenage girls.

Even if you came back
as a chipmunk
there would be moss to dig in,
scarlet berries to tuck in your cheeks,
and a beautiful, soft, striped coat.

Heaven seems so lifeless.
The void is for the stars.

About the Author
Betsy Martin’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Atlanta Review, The Briar Cliff Review, Cloudbank, Crack the Spine, Delmarva Review, Diverse Voices Quarterly (Best of the Net nomination), Evening Street Review, Green Hills Literary Lantern, Juked, Litbreak Magazine, Louisville Review, The Penmen Review, Pennsylvania English, Pisgah Review, Pudding Magazine, Slab, Straight Forward, Typehouse Literary Magazine, Weber—The Contemporary West, and many others. Her chapbook, Whale’s Eye, was published by Presa Press in June 2019. She worked for many years at Skinner House Books in Boston. She has advanced degrees in Russian language and literature and lived in Moscow studying at the Pushkin Institute during the exciting transitional period of glasnost. She enjoys birdwatching and is learning to sing.